Reifenhäuser Reicofil converts R&D lines to produce masks

March 31, 2020
The German company also plans to contribute material for other protective clothing in the fight against coronavirus.

By Bruce Geiselman  

Reifenhäuser Reicofil has temporarily converted two of its meltblown test lines to production and will supply nonwoven material for use in producing face masks used as protection against the coronavirus.  

The Troisdorf, Germany, company normally uses the two lines exclusively for research and development, as well as customer trials.   

“We have considered what contribution we can make in this crisis,” company CEO Bernd Kunze said. “This is, of course, mainly the fast delivery of meltblown lines to build up additional capacities. We have drastically reduced our delivery times here.”  

But in the meantime, the company wanted to find other ways to provide assistance.  

“Until the currently lacking capacities are built up, we are … stepping in with the test plants in our pilot plant station,” Kunze said. “Not using this capacity now would be irresponsible in our view.”    

Until further notice, Reifenhäuser Reicofil will operate the meltblown lines 24/7. The lines can produce enough material each day to manufacture 1 million masks.  

The meltblown material from the nonwoven technology center is already sold out for the next five weeks. Reifenhäuser is sending the material to a Vietnamese manufacturer of face masks because it could not immediately find a European producer of face masks. However, the company is looking for opportunities to strengthen the supply chain closer to home.   

In the future, Reifenhäuser Reicofil said its test lines could also be used to produce other spunbond meltblown spunbond (SMS) protective clothing that is in short supply.  

“We assume that protective suits, hoods, etc. will also become scarce,” Kunze said. “We are happy to offer our help here, as well. One of our pilot lines can produce the corresponding material, an SMS nonwoven, in the highest quality at short notice. In the meantime, however, we should also expand the real production capacities in Germany or Europe with new plants here, as well.  

The company is asking any German or European company looking for meltblown material for the production of face masks or SMS nonwovens for other medical clothing to contact [email protected]

Contact information

Reifenhäuser Reicofil GmbH & Co. KG, Troisdorf, Germany, 49-2241-93261-0, 

About the Author

Bruce Geiselman | Senior Staff Reporter

Senior Staff Reporter Bruce Geiselman covers extrusion, blow molding, additive manufacturing, automation and end markets including automotive and packaging. He also writes features, including In Other Words and Problem Solved, for Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Plastics Recycling and The Journal of Blow Molding. He has extensive experience in daily and magazine journalism.